The World Cup over the years has been as much a story of triumph and glory as it has been of heartbreaks and disappointments. There have been moments best described as 'so near yet so far', where teams have been on the threshold of greatness and yet have sunk into ignominy due to defeat.
CricketNDTV.com takes a look at five such moments of heartbreak in the World Cups.
1979: England go down in their quest for World Cup glory
After losing in the semi-final of the inaugural tournament, hosts England were desperate to win the trophy in front of the home crowd. But a firebrand 86 from Collis King and an understated unbeaten 138 by Viv Richards meant that Brearley and his men were looking at a tall order.
Brearly and Boycott started well, but a five-wicket haul by the giant Joel Garner put paid to England's hopes as they were beaten comprehensively.
1987: Gatting's reverse sweep hands Border's Australia the Cup
England had beaten co-hosts India at Mumbai in the first semi-final and had emerged as favourites to win the World Cup. Chasing 254 to win the final at the Eden Gardens, England were coasting with skipper Mike Gatting and Bill Athey at the crease.
This is when Australian skipper Allan Border decided to bowl his part-time left-arm orthodox. Gatting tried a reverse sweep which was miscued and lapped up by keeper Dyer.
England collapsed thereafter and Australia won the first of their 4 World Cup titles.
1992: Rain rule snatches South Africa a spot in the final
South Africa were re-admitted in international cricket after the end of the 'Apartheid' policy and they impressed everyone with their all-round display in the 1992 World Cup. Having made their way to the semi-finals, South Africa faced a stiff challenge from the English side and were left to chase a target of 253 runs in 45 overs.
Their dream of making it to the final was shattered when a crazy rain-rule robbed them of a legitimate chance to do so. The Proteas needed 22 runs from 13 balls when rain interrupted the proceedings. After the delay, they were given an impossible target of 21 runs to chase from just 1 ball.
1996: Eden erupts as India lose to Lanka
Aravinda de Silva's brilliance had bailed out Sri Lanka from a disastrous start and taken them to a challenging total of 251. Sachin Tendulkar was batting at his best as he took India to 98/1. But Sanath Jayasuriya and Kaluwitharana teamed up to stump the master.
That led to a mayhem as Jayasuriya plotted a dramatic collapse as the hosts were reduced to 120/8. This is when a frustrated capacity crowd at the Eden Gardens started venting out by burning paper and throwing stones and bottles on the pitch.
Match-referee Clive Lloyd had no choice but to hand the match to Sri Lanka.
1999: Donald is run out and a tie sends Australia to the final
This is remembered as a black day in South African cricket. Needing 9 runs to win off the final over after a see-saw battle, Lance Klusener hit 2 boundaries of the first two balls to bring down the equation to 1 off 4 balls.
Klusener attempted a quick single on the fourth ball with Donald not paying attention to the call. Finally when he did it was too late as Gilchrist had run him out by then. The match ended in a tie but Australia went on to the final due to their better run-rate in the Super Six table.
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